HomEat: the Airbnb in dining industry
Maybe you have heard about EatWith, the technology platform that brings the travelers to discover the delicious part of the destination at the chef’s house. EatWith was founded in 2010 by Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwarz and since then, it connects tens of thousands people together over one meal. Inspired by EatWith, Fan Zhang (Lamy), the former Managing Director of DigitasLBi, left the advertising industry he had worked for almost 10 years to start the dining sharing platform HomEat early this year. HomEat is the sharing service platform for chefs and diners and it connects chefs who are enthusiastic cooking and diners. HomEat invites anyone who would like to share his/her dishes to be the chef and to provide unique dining experience at his/her place. Chefs could publish the meal and list the menu on the platform; diners, on the other hand, could search for chefs and meals to reserve the ones they would like to join. Besides chefs’ places, HomEat also launched a common kitchen where meals could be held, so diners would not be concerned about eating at strangers’ places.
When asked how he came up with the idea, Lamy said traditional restaurant industry is facing bottleneck due to high costs, while eating is a frequent and diverse rigid demand. In China, there is no other platform helping people to find great food than Dianping and with increasing popularity of P2P, platforms like Airbnb and Uber meet users’ needs quite well. Known as the Airbnb in dining industry, HomEat aims at higher level of sharing platform – common interest in food and extraordinary dining experience.
HomEat not only brings chefs and diners together on the platform, but establishes online payment, standardizes the process of reservation, payment, occurrence and feedback, optimizes the experience of chefs and diners, and build the mutual rating system for both chefs and diners. Lamy said there would be an internal meal testing before any chef start offering the first meal to diners. HomEat would give chefs advice on menu and pricing based on the testing and also help chefs understand their characteristics and unique selling point in order to better promote and advertise themselves on the platform.
HomEat connects online and offline and this is how Lamy sees restaurants in the future. The revenue of HomEat comes not only from traditional commission but the common kitchen. In addition, when the platform obtains large amount of users, the value of advertising and e-commerce could also be explored. HomEat started A round of funding besides the angel investment of more than one million dollars. Lamy also plans to achieve 200 private/common kitchens and 500 chefs in October 2015 and introduce more functions, e.g. cooking lessons and chefs competitions, to the platform.
According to Lamy, there are many foodies in China and many of them have restaurant/café dreams. HomEat offers the platform to lower the entry of owning restaurant and helps them fulfill their dreams.